For the record my mother sent me a lovely e-card and wished me a happy day and I wished her one back. And later with friends convinced them the benign neglect we all suffered from our mothers was kind of de rigueur in the 70s and not an indication of any malice on their part. So, things are good between me and my mother. I send her pictures of the kids, she says they're cute, done.
So why did I cringe while scanning my Facebook feed today? Why did I stay radio silent there when I normally post multiple times a day? Why did I put off returning all the kind, thoughtful texts and emails I got wishing me a happy day? Why didn't I use the term "mother" in that last sentence?
Obviously I still have a lot of unresolved feelings about my mother. Seeing everyone praising their selfless, loving mothers online today was profoundly depressing to me. I recently re-watched an HBO documentary about Sondheim in which he details a letter his mother sent him before going into major surgery stating she had but one regret in life and that was "giving you birth". I was terribly disturbed by this - and then remembered the letter my mother had sent me that was in a similar vein, which was why that story struck me like it did. That hideous moment of realizing that your mother resented you. Ugh!
My friend's husband and I were talking about this stuff today and he said psychologists say the first seven years of a boy's life are almost entirely shaped by his mother in the sense of helping him to feel good about himself, and after that age the father helps the boy feel good about his world. It made me think again about mothers and sons and how important I am to them and how I must not screw this up. They must never ask themselves if I love them. They must never worry that they are not good enough or that they could do something that would cause me to not love them anymore.
Recently I had the thought that I stopped being someone's child when I became a mother. I do believe this is true for me. But then there are days like today where I just feel like I've taken one step forward, two steps back. I still hurt that I don't have a good relationship with my mother. My life would be so different right now if I did - if she lived nearby, if she spent time with her grand kids, if she were normal. Does it even bother her that she'll never meet them? Who knows?
Being as religion is largely the culprit in our rift, I was interested to watch a show on CNN tonight that profiled an atheist "church" called the Sunday Assembly. There is one right here in Hollywood that meets once a month. I might just check it out. I love to talk about religion and atheism and anti-theism with like-minded people, and definitely miss whatever sense of community church used to give me. Also this church gets really involved in charity work which is something I'm very interested in making a part of our family life (and was non-existent in my childhood religion, if you can believe that). So I may go next month. I might walk in there and be surrounded by weirdos. Or I might meet some really cool people. Kind of how I felt going to my first swing dance - and look how that turned out!